What now? Athlete checklist before you go into off-season mode 

Following the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the suspension of almost all elite sport around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of you will be wondering what you can do now that your season has come to a premature end. 

You can view this break in the sporting calendar positively, as it could give you a chance to spend more time with family; recalibrate your goals; work on physical or technical weaknesses; and learn new skills or educate yourself in something that could help you in your post-sport career.  

But instead of jumping straight into this enforced off-season, we’ve come up with a list of things you should do before you check out that could help reduce the financial, physical and mental impact of this unprecedented break in play.  

Talk to your coaches 

With the Games postponed and most other events cancelled or suspended, all your plans for this season have likely been turned on their head. With no competitions to enter for the foreseeable future and your training likely affected by lockdowns and other control measures, it is important to devise a new plan with your coaches as soon as possible. If you map out your training schedule for the year ahead now, it could give you a head-start on your opponents. Take advantage of the latest tech by jumping into a Zoom or Skype call with your entourage, and brainstorming some new workouts or competitions scenarios that you can do in the more confined spaces that you’re now operating within.  

Contact your national governing body 

It’s important that you keep your lines of communication open. Your national governing body will be able to give you the most up-to-date information about the current situation, and let you know when training facilities and competitions are likely to resume. Make sure you keep communicating with them so that you can stay in the loop. You could also check in with your NOC to make sure they don’t forget about you, and to find out about any changes to any regular funding streams brought about by COVID-19.  

Engage your sponsors 

Try not to worry if your personal sponsorship deals are linked to your performance in the Games or are due to end in 2020. This is uncharted territory for everyone, so you may be able to arrange for extensions to current agreements or for new deals to be put in place. Once this pandemic is over, the world will be more eager than ever to watch live sport, so the interest in athletes and your performances will be huge. That can work to your advantage and encourage sponsors to maintain their relationship with you. This could also be an opportunity to engage with your sponsors in different ways, perhaps by providing home workout videos for them to share with their employees, or by raising awareness about issues related to COVID-19 with their consumers. 

Use your time productively 

This extended break to training and competition should mean that you have more time on your hands for other pursuits. As well as catching up on reading, podcasts or TV shows, you could also turn your attention to some personal development to optimise your life off the field of play. Athlete365 has many resources that you can draw on, including an online learning platform and our personal branding toolkit, which could help you up your social media game and become more attractive to sponsors. If you have a business idea that you’d like to explore, the Athlete365 Business Accelerator could also kick-start your entrepreneurial streak, while Athlete365 Career+ could help you start planning for life after sport.